Coronavirus Diary 40 – How to make friends and influence people

For much of the last week I have been out in my back garden.  It’s one of the sole parts of the property that I can make progress with given the state of the world at the moment.    In a world where electricians can come in my house to sort out my unsafe electrics but I don’t want them to and when a carpenter can come in my house to make my stairs safe but he can’t get the material and a world where I’d really like to sit down on something comfortable but can’t as my furniture is stuck in Italy then progressing with the garden seems the way to proceed, in a socially distancing manner of course.

I often post about how I love nature and my old garden, someone even told me that it’s not the house that I need to check out but the garden and then I’d buy whichever house came with it.

The new house has an 80-90 foot garden (about 30 metres) though it was longer in previous centuries.  It was extremely uncared for when I arrived and everyone seems to have been in agreement it was a total eyesore and was beyond redemption in its current form with an awful 80’s style raised flower bed (with no flowers) cutting across the 18th century patio which was expanded by terrible cheap stone with not even any cement in place.   There was over a metre (3 feet) deep of ivy along one side and for reasons no-one can quite understand, there was a garden shed right outside the back door.  In fact so close to the back door it was impossible to see over half of the garden.

At a time when it seems impossible even to buy a rose in the U.K. and my obviously not allowed out anywhere, except for getting rid of excess energy with a sledgehammer, the only real way forward was to get some professional help in.  And it is a good thing I did as they filled a complete skip full of materials.  I only hope it is taken away quicker than the 9 weeks it took the previous skip.

I can tell you, there is no way to make friends more quickly when you’ve moved house than when you have a skip and the entire country has houses full of accumulating waste and broken items.  In every other way having a Coronavirus epidemic is a bad thing when you’re moving house but to have neighbours being ever so grateful that they can get rid of junk is the one silver lining.  Some haven’t just put stuff in but taken stuff out!

I will take some photos of my garden one day, it’s not finished yet but all ready there is plenty of wildlife making itself home in terms of birds, butterflies and bees and even this fellow, a frog.

One of my neighbours asked me I ended up living here and asking just how old I was.  Most people stop being asked how old they are when they are about 15 until they are around 70.  There were a few murmurs of disbelief when I said I was 46.  “You don’t look it”!   I like him,  he didn’t even want to use the skip. I’ve shortlisted him to be a friend 🙂 In fact all my new neighbours who I’ve met up to 4 houses on one side and 5 houses on the left are very nice and the one behind me too… and the few up the road I’ve never met but who wave their pots and pans on the weekly thursday night clap for the NHS.


About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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2 Responses to Coronavirus Diary 40 – How to make friends and influence people

  1. Oh lovely! I can not wait to see the garden. You should do before,during and after for us.
    I agree! You do not look anywhere near 40 even!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is 80% complete now, hopefully 99% by the end of the week it will be 95% and I can put up some photos. I’ve been having my new but ancient house partly rewired this last week so I am very behind with blogs as have had no electricity most of the time.


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